Thursday, March 19, 2009

bg/ish: The Greed of AIG

I touched on this somewhat last week. The government is spending vast amounts of your money to bail out crooks, liars, cheats and pigs. The "Generation of Swine" that Hunter Thompson wrote about has truly come to pass.

It's been well documented in the press that AIG, recipient of at least $170 billion in taxpayer "bailout" money, went ahead and gave bonuses to employees totaling somewhere around $165 million. Public outrage and disgust quickly followed. President Obama and Congress did their best to wipe the AIG jizz off their faces by demanding they return the money. Whatever. I'm not here to pile on that.

The thing is, these sums of money that are being tossed about, I don't think people comprehend just how much money it really is. We need the occasional reality check to put things in perspective.

That's why this article over at Socialist Worker is the tits. "Sarah Knopp, a public school teacher in Los Angeles, looks at what we could pay for with the federal government's bailout money that went to bonuses for AIG executives."

"HOW MUCH is $165 million? It's the amount that AIG says they need to pay in bonuses to executives in their financial products division. Since the U.S. government has given AIG over $170 billion so far, and controls 80 percent of the company, we can safely say that the money being given to these loser execs is our money.

$165 million also turns out to be almost the exact amount of money that it would take to save all of the 2,000 permanent elementary school teachers in the Los Angeles Unified School District who were just given pink slips (assuming an average salary and benefits cost of $80,000 per teacher).

So for the same amount of money that we gave to the people who helped to invent things like "credit default swaps" and "collateralized debt obligations" that threaten to pull down the entire U.S. economy, we could keep 2,000 more teachers in the elementary schools in Los Angeles."

Just a little perspective. Let us not give into despair.

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